When are Meetings Useful?
Most people have been involved in meetings- they are practically inescapable. They are at school, at work, in sports, at church...wherever there is a collection of people, there will inevitably be a meeting. If they are so prevalent, there must be evidence that meetings are necessary for anything to be accomplished. I sure hope so.
As a graduate student, I have a lot of tasks to get accomplished everyday. When I hear the word meeting, this means a colossal waste of time is about to ensue. There is always that one person who endlessly has diarrhea of the mouth (more than one if you are an engineer) who is wasting everyone's time to either: a) make themselves feel important b) put off their own work c)make it seem like they actually do work or d) suck up to the person in charge. In any case, this is obnoxious and a complete waste of time. If you are like me, this time is used to play angry birds on my phone or secretly text other people. At least most people get paid for this time of doing absolutely nothing productive- a small incentive.
In the workplace, many meeting are held by management that have zero knowledge in your area of work. For example, many managerial positions require and dictate how science teachers in higher education should be teaching online courses- despite have any knowledge in science or in online education. Nonetheless, these employees are forced to sit and regurgitate useless information that is neither helpful of effective in doing their job better and more efficiently. The managerial position, however, feels accomplished in their "necessary" leadership position. I am often reminded of the pointy-haired boss in the Dilbert comics.
However, this isn't to say all meetings have to be so miserable. If a meeting is short, productive, and engaging, meetings can have a positive affect in group settings. I think most companies and groups would benefit from all the technology we have on hand. Google Hangout, Skype, Gmail chat, and many others all provide a fast outlet for meeting that can be fast and eliminate all transportation time. As a graduate student, meeting for a group assignment at school is a huge annoyance. You are a slave to unreliable, slow bus transportation of have to pay hundreds of dollars a semester to have a parking pass on campus. These technological tools provide an answer and save the student countless hours of unnecessary transportation. And in a work setting, would save the employer money by streamlining the necessary evil of meetings.
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